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Additives from Tolsa are touted as sustainable replacements for PTFE, part of the PFAS constellation, in flame-retardant polymer formulations.

Stephen Moore

March 12, 2024

3 Min Read
flames
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At a Glance

  • Since November 2023, Tolsa has seen a 70% increase in demand for alternatives to PTFE
  • Tolsa will highlight this emerging trend and identify the latest applications at NPE2024

Spain’s Tolsa, a supplier of flame-retardant (FR) synergists and specialized additives, reports growing demand for its Adins Additives as a sustainable replacement for the use of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as an anti-dripping mechanism in flame-retardant formulations. Tolsa will highlight this emerging market trend and identify the latest applications at the upcoming NPE2024 exhibition (booth S-30174), which runs May 6 to 10 in Orlando, FL.

Since November 2023, Tolsa has seen a 70% increase in demand for alternatives to PTFE as an anti-dripping mechanism, according to Dr. Marta Sacristán, functional additives product manager for Tolsa. Most of this growth is focused on the production of polycarbonate (PC) and PC/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) compounds as well as polyolefins such as polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE). Adins Additives meet increasingly stringent regulations as well as environmental, health, and safety standards that are directly influencing the demand for alternative and safe materials.

Derived from natural sources

Adins Additives products are based on needle-like silicates modified on their surface with organic compounds to ease dispersion in polymeric matrices. This structure reinforces the consistency of the char, improving its properties and gas-barrier capabilities. This enhanced char decreases heat release and flame propagation, and also reduces smoke emissions and dripping. Key applications include wire and cable, electrical and electronics, construction (pipes, insulating foams, and so forth), and transportation.

Related:PFAS-free Transparent Flame-Retardant Polycarbonate Debuts

Adins Additives can be used in all types of matrix polymers — thermoplastics, thermosets, and rubber. They work in combination with various halogenated, hydroxide, intumescent, and phosphorus-based FR additives. Manufacturers of FR compounds can use the same equipment that is used with other components to manufacture these Adins-based formulations. 

“The Adins Additives range offers a more complete improvement in FR properties because [the additives] don’t just behave as an anti-dripping mechanism but are also a more sustainable solution since much of their content comes from natural sources,” said Sacristán. “Adins technology is highly versatile and can be fine-tuned to meet the high-performance needs of formulators and end users.”

Automotive and electrical applications

Tolsa has already validated the use of Adins Additives as a PTFE replacement in an electric vehicle (EV) battery case application in the UK. The company is also working with global firms to substitute PTFE in automotive parts and electrical devices, along with other applications.

Adins products meet the growing demand for synergists, optimizing not only the consumption of conventional flame retardants, but also providing and enhancing desired properties and functionalities such as anti-dripping, char promotion, and significant reduction of smoke and heat generation. Adins technology allows the development of customized grades that guarantee compliance with specific client and industry requirements.

"Forever chemicals" in the spotlight

In halogen and halogen-free formulations (HFFR), the use of anti-dripping agents is needed. A commonly used drip suppressant is poly(tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE), which forms a network structure through shearing-induced fibrillation to effectively reduce dripping. However, there is controversy regarding the health risks of this so-called PFAS class of “forever chemicals,” which includes PTFE. There are health concerns surrounding the perfluoro substances that are used to make PTFE.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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